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Jitu Rai clinches bronze medal in 10m air pistol of ISSF World Cup

Jitu Rai won the bronze medal in 10m air pistol at the ISSF World Cup with a score of 216.7

other sports Updated: Feb 28, 2017 18:21 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jitu Rai,ISSF World Cup,shooting
Jitu Rai (right) with 10m air pistol gold medallist Tomoyuki Matsuda (centre) and silver medallist Vinh Xuan Hoang at the ISSF World Cup.(ISSF)

A day after Jitu Rai teamed up with Heena Sidhu to bag the ‘gold badge’ in 10m air pistol mixed team event, the genial Army shooter won the men’s 10m air pistol bronze in the ISSF World Cup here at the Karni Singh Ranges on Tuesday.

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The World Championship silver-medallist notched up a score of 216.7 on way to the third-place finish behind 2016 world champion, Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda (240.1 world record) and Rio Olympic Games gold-medallist Vinh Xuan Hoang of Vietnam (236.6).

Read more | Jitu Rai, Heena Sidhu win ISSF World Cup mixed team 10m air pistol event

Jitu had a poor start in the finals as he shot 9.1 and 8.8. After the first series of five shots, he was placed seventh among eight competitors. After 10 shots, he was placed sixth. He again slipped to seventh but steadily climbed thereafter to win the medal.

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After the match, Jitu said the soldier in him had helped him overcome the tough challenge. “Initially I felt some pressure, but after two-three shots I was in a different zone. It helped me stay focused. Despite shooting bad scores I didn’t panic as I had got into the right rhythm, which ultimately helped me win the medal,” he said.

Russian pistol coach Smirnov Pavel said he had told Jitu to compete with himself and not bother about competitors. The Army shooter also had to overcome the problem of delayed shots. “I had to release the shots within a stipulated timeframe, otherwise my hand starts trembling. It was a minor issue… not a worrying factor.”

Read more | Pooja Ghatkar wins India a bronze on opening day of shooting World Cup

Earlier in the qualification round, Jitu shot 577 to finish sixth among 35 shooters. He had a series of 97, 96, 93, 98, 97 and 96. The other two Indians -- Amanpreet Singh and Omkar Singh -- failed to qualify for the finals, where eight shooters make the grade.

Amanpreet shot 572, while Omkar had a score of 574. Omkar whose personal best is 587, shot in 2010, said his last series of 60 shots spoiled his chances of making the cut. “There were some bad shots, it made the difference,” he said.

With another Army shooter, Chain Singh, making the finals of men’s 50m rifle prone, there was hope of another medal. In qualification, he scored 618.8 to finish sixth and entered the finals. However, he faltered in the finals to finish seventh.

Japan’s Toshikazu Yamashite won gold with a world record score of 249.8, defeating Chinese Yukun Liu (249.3) by a wafer-thin margin. Poland’s Daniel Romanczyk won bronze (226.6).

First Published: Feb 28, 2017 12:24 IST